Doors Open When You Knock

EQ – Resistance = SUCCESS

How would you score yourself on your ’emotional intelligence IQ’, or EQ, as it is referred to?

You might be now thinking, ‘What the heck is emotional intelligence/EQ?’  Emotional intelligence is: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Of the 14 years I have been in real estate, I have come across very few people who talk about emotional intelligence in great detail; which is not totally surprising given that it is a more recent paradigm. It’s also possible there are plenty of people teaching and training and I just missed it).   Nevertheless, most of my real estate career has been centered around the opposite emotional intelligence: fact, logic, and reason – how to convince and persuade leads/prospects/clients to do something.  Or to convince the other agent and their clients to do what we want them to do.  Either way, it was about getting people to do something with a persuasive, convincing argument using facts, logic and reason.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” – Dale Carnegie

I have been doing it all wrong.  I have been creating emails, proposals, presentations – all to convince people to do things.  I have completely ignored the emotional piece.  Its not that I don’t listen to people; its not that I am not aware of their overall feelings and mental state – I actually had halfway decent emotional intelligence skills through other development and training I have done over the last 20 years.  

However, I thought it completely natural (and logical) to overcome emotion with fact, logic, and reason.  Over the last year I have been doing a lot of work with Chris Voss, (author of Never Split The Difference) using tactical empathy and emotional intelligence – I have been exposed to things that never occurred to me. As much as I thought I was really listening to people, really getting where they were at – I now realize I wasn’t even scratching the surface.

“As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” – John Archibald Wheeler

Consider that increasing your emotional intelligence is your secret sauce.  Most agents are all commodities.  We all do the same things.  Despite the story you are telling yourself, most good agents all do the same things in terms of serving their clients.  Additionally, with more and more technology becoming part of life, you are not going to out-tech your competition.  In fact, just the opposite.  Redfin, Zillow, and others have way more money and skills to out compete on technology.  To the public we look more and more the same.

Where do we have a competitive advantage?  In sitting across from our clients and serving them in an emotionally intelligent way that can not be replicated with an app.

Of all the businesses that I have been a part of in my career, selling residential real estate has been, by far, the most emotional business.  What about your experience as a real estate professional – would you say its been your experience that most interactions with your clients, and transactions, are highly emotional?  Despite every attempt to keep them UN-emotional?  

I have now woken up to the fact that I might have been approaching this from the wrong point of view (or at least one that isn’t as effective as it could be):  instead of trying to convince and persuade with fact logic and emotion, and instead of trying to take all the emotion out of an emotional process, what about raising my emotional intelligence and working with people from that perspective?

Is this causing some resistance inside you?  Do you feel yourself pushing back in any way?  Maybe threatened that you could have been doing something ‘wrong’ or not as effective as possible?  I sure felt that way.   Especially when it came to the doors.  I was so attached to the way I have been doing things – after all, I have been doing it this way for 13+ years.  Over 100,000 doors.  To consider that I was doing it ‘wrong’ – was too much for my ego to handle.  It was so threatening.   

So I was slow to be open to the coaching.  Resistant to trying anything new.

However, it is very clear that constant improvement can’t hurt – it can only make things better – at least in the long run.

One of the biggest changes I am making at the doors – is asking permission to be there.  I have always understood that when I knocked on a door I was:
a) trespassing on someone’s property
b) interrupting their day

Therefore my very first intention was to leave them better off than when I found them.  (My other intentions were to look for ‘now’ business, and see if I can be of service in any way). Although there is nothing wrong with these intentions, how I actually behaved at the door was not honoring them truly.  What I mean by that is:  even though I recognize I was trespassing and interrupting their day, I still barged right through to my agenda, assuming they were willing and okay with talking to me.  Maybe I didn’t do this every time – if someone was busy or in the middle of something I just left and said “have a great day.”  

Now, I am asking permission before I say anything else other than ‘hello.’   It happens by asking, “Is this a bad time?”

And if they say yes (it is a bad time) and they don’t want to talk, I move on.  Period. I don’t try and push my way through.  I go to the next door.  Now you might be saying, “but you had them at the door, why not push through that opportunity?”  The answer: if they don’t want to talk, they don’t want to talk.  Me pushing them isn’t going to make it any better.  More importantly, what does that say about any future relationship?  That regardless of what is going on with them, I am going to bulldoze my way through to what works for me and my agenda?

Chris Voss calls it treating people with ‘deference and respect.’  It is respectful to ask their permission and honor their answer.  By the way, this applies to all interactions.  Yes, all interactions with all people – even your family and friends!

The definition of deference:

  1. respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another.
  2. respectful or courteous regard:
    in deference to his wishes.

The definition of respect (as a verb):

  1. to hold in esteem or honor:
  2. to show regard or consideration for: to respect someone’s rights.
  3. to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect a person’s privacy.

(By the way, if you are hung up on that I used the noun and verb definitions instead of them both as a noun – don’t get hung up on that.  You can look them up yourself.  It is easier to see the connection this way.)

Back to the example at the door.  If I ask them “Did I catch you at a bad time?”, and they say, ‘no’, or ‘yes, but its all right – go ahead,” they have given me permission.  This completely changes the dynamic at the door.

The point of my message is two-fold: 1) to get you thinking about emotional intelligence in your real estate business; 2) notice the resistance you may have to any new information or change – especially if you have been doing something one way for a very long time.

What now?  Where to start?

Start with Chris Voss’s book “Never Split The Difference.”  You can also Google Chris Voss and listen/watch the many podcasts and video presentations.  Here is the one where I first met him:

I believe the key to my future success (and not just in real estate) is Integrating emotional intelligence and tactical empathy into everything I do.  From now on all the training and coaching I do will incorporate this methodology.  What can you do? Check out Chris Voss’s book.  Go and read, or re-read, the chapter “Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood” in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.”  Or go to Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.”

All the best,